This past week I came across a news story that rocked me to the core like I’m sure it did most people. As a mother, especially, anytime I hear of a young, innocent child passing away, I am devastated. Like most parents, when I am witness to the tragic loss of a child, I take it on myself. I imagine what it would feel like to lose one, or even all of my babies. I feel the anguish, the pain, the grief, but then do you know what I do? I push it away. I shove away such awful, unmentionable thoughts, I draw my own chicks closer into my nest, and I sigh a breath of relief that they are there. That is the honest to God truth of it, and I think anyone who has lost a child deserves that honesty. Because you see, I cannot empathize their loss. I am so very sorry, and they have my deepest sympathy and most heartfelt prayers, but I have not been where they are. So I won’t claim I have.
Many of the parents had not been with them in their last moments of life, and I tried to grasp the emotions that must overwhelm them in their tragic loss. I wondered what I would say to another mother in this situation, and I realized nothing. I had nothing.
I could say, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
I could say, “you’re in my prayers.”
I could offer platitudes of, “they’re with Jesus now.”
And although that last thought brings me consolation with the loss of my mother, I know losing a child is different.
Or rather, I think I know.
Again I come to the fact of not knowing, not knowing what it’s like to lose a child. If I did, so many I’m sure would try to offer comfort, when maybe all I would need most is a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.
People might even say ridiculous things like, “it’s all part of God’s plan.”
Or perhaps, “God works in mysterious ways.”
And while it’s true He does, that wouldn’t help the raw grief.
And though He brings joy in the morning (mourning) eventually, the pain of loss probably always remains.